Archive for the Writing Category

Misconceptions about Occult Publishing

Posted in Weird, Writing on October 4, 2014 by P. Dunn

I want to take a moment to clear up some odd misconceptions about occult books and occult publishing. I’m doing so because, in other areas of the net, I sometimes see some odd claims about occult authors and occult books.

1. Occult authors do not do it for the money. There’s very little money in writing as a whole, and most occult authors I know who do make a living at it actually make their money with speaking fees and classes. It’s not uncommon for an author to receive less than a dollar per book sold. A well-selling occult book might net an author a few thousand dollars. It takes about a year, often more, to write a book. Do the math. As for me, I don’t intend to make much money with my books. I write them because it’s fun for me, and because it keeps me researching and thinking, and because it’s a great way to connect with other occultists. That check is pretty nice, but it often means “hey, let’s go out for sushi” rather than “hey, let’s buy a yacht!”

2. Occult authors are not the employees of their publisher. Llewellyn and Weiser are not having magical wars with each other. Neither are their authors. The loyalty I have to Llewellyn is based on a series of contracts (and the fact that they work well with me, and I like the people personally). It’s not exclusive. I buy many Weiser books, and admire quite a few of them. It’s not impossible that Llewellyn may reject one of my books, and if that happens, I may self-publish it or shop it out to other publishers. No one will feel the slightest sense of betrayal or annoyance if that happens.

3. As an extension of #2, if I write a bad review of a book by an another publisher, I did so because, in my opinion, it is a book that did not set out to meet its stated aims. It has nothing to do with who published it. There’s no rivalry, and other authors are not my competition. In occult publishing, a rising tide raises all boats. If someone writes a book on Lenormand, and it sells better than mine — great! Maybe that means it’ll spark lots of interest in Lenormand and people will also buy and read my book. So if I write a review that says “this book doesn’t work,” or “this book is often plagiarized and poorly written when it’s not,” it has nothing to do with my publisher and everything to do with the content of the book in question.

4. Occult publishers used to have niches. Llewellyn published a lot of very friendly, very light books on magic. Weiser published heavier stuff. These niches are no longer the case. Llewellyn has published many serious books on magic, and Weiser has published much lighter, friendlier stuff. Sneering at an entire publisher because of their catalogue doesn’t make you sound knowledgeable. It makes it sound like you live in the ’90s. The market has changed dramatically in the last twenty years, and there is no longer any room for niches.

Perhaps I should write a post offering advice for those who wish to break into writing occult books?

Want to Help Me Write a Book?

Posted in Magical Systems, Techniques, Writing on April 18, 2014 by P. Dunn

I’m toying with ideas for my next book.  I’d like to do some research among those who practice magic.  Would you be interested in being interviewed for this possible book?  This may involve sharing some of your magical successes and failures, and perhaps trying a few techniques and reporting back.  There may be several follow-up interviews, as well.  If the book is published and I use your experiences, you will receive credit (either to your name or a pseudonym) and your experiences will be cited in the text.  I’ll also send you a free copy of the book when it comes out (but don’t hold your breath: it takes at least a year to write a book, and another year for it to come out).  I can’t guarantee that I’ll use everyone’s experiences.  But if nothing else, we may be able to share some ideas and techniques, even if they don’t end up as a book.

Feel free to join in whether you’re very advanced in magic or a brand-new beginner.  The book I’m envisioning is an advanced book, but I want beginners to be able to benefit from it.

If interested, email me at pee double-yew dunn at gmail dot com (address obscured in order to confound spambots.  Not that that’ll work.  Essentially, it’s my first and middle initial followed by my last name).  And be patient with me; it’s a busy time of the year for me.

Woohoo

Posted in Writing on February 4, 2012 by P. Dunn

Yay, the first draft of the book on theurgy is done.  All except the introduction, which will be finished in a couple days.  Then, it’s revision time.

I won’t know until I read over it, but my impression is that I am quite happy with it.  I think I even like it better than my second book, Magic Power Language Symbol, which is my favorite so far.  It’s the sort of book I wish I could go buy and read, which is always my touchstone for the stuff I write.

This one’s a bit of a doorstopper for occult books, too.

My next project might be some translation, depending on how quickly I can whip my Greek into shape.

“Second Person” Now Available for Preorder!

Posted in Writing on June 20, 2011 by P. Dunn

I am very pleased to announce that my first book of poetry, “Second Person,” has been published by Finishing Line Press and is available for preorder now. Please click the above link and scroll down to “Dunn,” where you can find it.

Preorders determine print run, so if you can preorder, it’d help me out quite a lot. Moreover, you get a discount on shipping, I believe, if you preorder from the publisher.

This book of poetry concerns the mystical connection we have with our world as a “thou” rather than an “it.” It’s about not only the relationship between self and other, but between Self and Other.

Stick Figure Hermeticism

Posted in Language, Magical Systems, Music, Writing on November 21, 2010 by P. Dunn

Driving around the suburbs, I see more and more cars with little stick figure families. If you don’t know what I mean, these are decals on the back window that depict the dynamic of the family: usually a father, a mother, two kids, a soccer ball, and a dog. Or some combination thereof. If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a site that sells them. I am not endorsing this site in any way, and I give you fair warning: it’s in comic sans.

I kind of want to make a line of Hermetic stick figure families. I’d have two men, two (three, soon, hopefully) books, two manuscripts, an easel and some paintings . . .

It is right and fitting from a hermetic perspective that people affirm their identity by means of their children. It is even right and fitting that they advertise such things in glyphs on their vehicles. After all, our children make hieroglyphs on our bodies and souls: why not on our cars? But the magician recognizes that there are children and there are children. To create flesh-and-blood children is wonderful, but it’s also wonderful to create other children: a unique arrangement of words, a painting, a language, a new way of cooking fish, a song. We create our soul by the children we have. It doesn’t matter if anyone else likes them (no one is ever going to pay to hear the songs I write, I suspect, and certainly no one is interested in artificial languages). What matters is that before me, there were not these things in the world. After me, there is.

The only real difference between the magician and the artist, I suspect, is that the hermetic magician never puts down his or her brushes and pallet, and regards the whole world as an easel.

Nano

Posted in Writing on December 3, 2009 by P. Dunn

Well, Nanowrimo is two days over, and I made it to 33,000 words.  But I didn’t use the recommended technique; I outlined and planned instead.  And the writing is going well.  My current goal is 1000 words a day, and I’m about a third of the way done with the book, I think, maybe a bit more.

So I failed at Nano, but don’t mind.

A Tip for Writers

Posted in Writing on November 14, 2009 by P. Dunn

I learned something useful recently that I’d thought I’d share for those who wish to be writers.

A few weeks ago, during a storm of deadlines and work stress, my usual writing computer died.  It’s also a fairly high powered gaming computer, and it does this occasionally and I have to reinstall Windows.  The tech support for this particular company seems to regard that as both normal and desirable.  What they seem to forget is that it takes an entire day to install Windows.

In frustration, I went and bought a Macbook.  I will resist the urge to proselytize, but here’s what I learned:

Keep your gaming computer and your writing computer separate, and you will triple your productivity.

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